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Social reading is a win

There have been some interesting posts by the A-team about the desire to form small groups (aka “friends”) and share interesting articles they find.

* Dave Winer wants an editorial system where only a select group of people contribute to the “shared” items.
* Robert Scoble agrees that a few good people can make a better aggregator than Techmeme or Digg.

Earlier this year, Michael Arrington said it ever so clearly: “I think people usually want to read news and then discuss it with friends.”

We couldn’t agree more. After building out the internals of our Participatory Media Platform (PMP), we been building an application to let you do just that.

out of date, but so what

Now whenever you read a post, you see if any of your friends have already viewed it, too.

The huge win is that when you click to send friends private messages related to that asset, you already have a shared experience. It’s also the end of emails that start with clumsy, tentative openers like “Hey, did you see this already?…”

When you find a post (or any web content, really) that’s interesting, you can share it with any or all of your friends (and of course publicly, too).

Duplicate detection ensures, well, that you don’t get duplicate shared items from all your friends. Now get this: because you never have to worry about sharing something your friend has already seen, you can now share with abandon.

By letting users define who their friends are, and who they want to hear from, the noise that traditionally plagues Digg/clones is eliminated. Assetbar won’t become one giant site for everybody, it will start and stay your site for you. That’s important.

Add our flexible privacy controls to the mix, and the experience of reading and sharing digital assets can become 10X more fun and rewarding than it is today.

We failed to obey the “release early, release often” mantra, so lots of people are always asking us when they can get on the system. The truth is, I’m conflicted about releasing a product that isn’t as refined as I would like. What’s a few more weeks on a project that has been going this long? On the other hand, the rough spots won’t matter too much: using this site is becoming too fun to keep just to ourselves.

That’s all for now. It’s time to get back to work.


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